Want to escape the touristy stuff and experience Montreal like a local? Native Montrealer Sofia recommends 10 unique things to do in her delightful city.
1. Admire the architecture
San Francisco has its Painted Ladies and Montreal has its row of Victorian houses on Saint-Louis Square. This part of Plateau Mont-Royal is home to houses adorned with colourful rooftops and façades. Just search for #SaintLouisSquare on Instagram to see for yourself!
2. Go on a coffee crawl
Montreal is known for having great coffee. Unlike your typical American filtered kind, we take great care in crafting the perfect brew. Try Pikolo Espresso Bar or Café Milano – they get it right every time. Popular spots that have recently opened include Café Tommy and September Surf Café.
Photo credit: Cafe Milano
3. Wait in Montreal’s iconic line
Head to the Kem CoBa ice cream parlour in Mile End and join the city’s coolest queue. This place even has its own Twitter account! Grab a bag of Fairmount bagels next door for breakfast the following morning.
Photo credit: Isabelle Phan
4. Become an expert in craft beer
Sample made-in-Quebec beers at the local Dieu du Ciel brewery! In summer, be sure to snag a seat on their outdoor terrace – it’s a great place for people watching.
Photo credit: Dieu du Ciel
5. Indulge in brunch
Sunday brunch is a big deal in Montreal. You’ll see locals lining up quite early to indulge in some of the city’s best bacon and eggs. There are plenty of top-notch places to try: L’Avenue, Fabergé, Le Cartet, Olive et Gourmando and Lawrence, for instance.
Photo credit: Olive et Gourmando
6. Tam-Tam it out
After brunch, make your way to the Tam-Tams at the foot of Mount Royal Park. Every Sunday you’ll find hippies, groups of friends and families enjoying the sound of the drums. Don’t be afraid to dance or bring your own tam-tam to the party.
Photo credit: G Morel
7. Dig for gold at vintage shops
There are a host of vintage stores on Boulevard Saint-Laurent that specialise in clothing from all eras, as well as fun knick-knacks and old-school paraphernalia. Eva B. is a local favourite.
Photo credit: Laura D’Alessandro
8. Catch a live show
Go see an unknown band or attend a Flamenco show at one of Montreal’s many cool venues, for example La Sala Rosa, Casa del Popolo or Divan Orange. You may just discover the next Arcade Fire!
Photo credit: Norsola Johnson
9. Seek out the local speakeasy
Want to blend in with the locals? Go on the hunt for Big in Japan, our secret speakeasy. It’s hidden behind a red door with Japanese letters on it; you won’t see a logo here. Once inside, walk through the heavy black curtains and you’ll find yourself in a candle-lit lounge with bartenders dressed in prohibition-era attire.
Photo credit: Pietro Di Zanno
10. Check out the street art scene
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – take the time to discover the street art on Boulevard Saint-Laurent! See a piece by a local artist you’d like to own? Head to the Station 16 street art gallery as they may just have it.
Photo credit: Andre Vandal
Special tip: For a more authentic Montreal experience, get the Like A Local mobile app
Opening photo credit: T.E.A Photography